Are Home Inspectors Liable For Negligence?

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“Are Home Inspectors Liable For Negligence? Buyers often get an optional home inspection when purchasing a residential property during a real estate transaction to avoid unpleasant surprises. To determine whether a house needs repairs or upgrades, a home inspector looks for visual signs such as water damage, soil movement, cracks, plumbing and electrical problems, inadequate or improper insulation, mold, mildew, or ventilation problems, as well as signs of water damage, soil movement, cracks.”

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Are Home Inspectors Liable For Negligence?

Why is Home Inspector? And How Does a Home Inspector Work?

A home inspection is vital to purchasing a new home, as it determines whether the building is structurally sound. It is also possible to use home inspections to determine the property’s value. The following examples are some of the most common circumstances that would need a home inspection:

  • Appraising a house or property;
  • Checking the home’s safety;
  • Supervising land use or zoning matters;
  • Renovating and improving the property.

The goal of a home inspector is to determine whether a piece of real estate property is in good condition before it goes up for sale. They then submit a report that describes their findings. Home inspectors perform routine inspections for purchasing, selling, or maintaining a home.

It is common for home inspectors to perform a variety of duties and responsibilities. Some common duties and responsibilities of home inspectors include the following:

  • Thermostats and air conditioners;
  • Electrical and plumbing systems;
  • Sewage and water;
  • A sign of insect, fire, or water damage;
  • There are a few fire safety issues.

The home inspector identifies any defects that could affect a property’s value. A home inspector will look for any issues that could cause a significant or reasonable impact on the property’s value.

It is also important for a home inspector to look for issues considered violations of local housing codes. To prevent failure to disclose violations, the home inspector will create a report of these details. There are many reasons why home inspectors might consider it necessary, including the following:

  • Those considering selling their homes;
  • Brokers and agents of real estate;
  • Companies that provide mortgage loans.


Performing home inspections and avoiding negligence

Are home inspectors liable for anything? In most home inspection contracts, there’s a clause called a “Limitation of Liability Clause” that states that the home inspector is not liable for any damages exceeding the fee that you paid for the inspection, regardless of what they missed – how badly they messed up.

A typical inspection fee is between $300 and $500 and is well worth it if the right inspector handles the job.

Even if the home inspector is negligent, the Limitation of Liability Clause limits the home inspector liability to the fee paid. A homebuilder’s negligence is similar to that of a home inspector.


What are home inspectors liable for?

State law is a significant factor in determining an inspector’s responsibility duration.

Only 35 US states currently have laws that govern home inspectors. Home inspectors must also complete training in these states to earn a license. The home inspector’s limitations period in these states can range from a few years to more than five.


Are home inspectors liable for missed items?

How long is a home inspector liable? The home inspection is a crucial part of the sale of any home. Both buyers and sellers depend on the inspection report. The buyer can use the inspection report to demand that the seller repair or replace any problems the inspector has identified. Real estate home inspectors are responsible for doing their job according to industry standards. House inspector liability could be liable for major and minor issues if you don’t.


Can the inspector be liable for damages?

Legal action might be available if a home inspector fails to spot a problem that harms you or another resident. Home inspectors must know a lot about the home but are only sometimes aware of all the signs that a home is defective or problematic.


Can the inspector be liable for damages?


Moreover, they are not required to perform “intrusive” inspections, which means they will not poke holes in walls or move boxes or furniture. Instead, they conduct visual inspections. The home inspector liable for damages if they fail to find an apparent defect within their professional expertise.


Legal Liability for Negligence

Are home inspectors liable for anything? A “Limitation of Liability Clause” is commonly included in home inspection contracts. As a result, inspectors can avoid legal liability for their negligence and are only responsible for reimbursing the fee they paid for the inspection if an issue is undetected. Since there is limited legal recourse when a home inspector misses a defect, you may have little.


What is the legal status of suing home inspector?

Can you sue a home inspector for negligence? If your home inspector caused you harm, you could sue the inspector. You will know whether you have a good case based on how and what they did.

Most home inspectors face lawsuits at least once during their careers, but that doesn’t mean they’re legally liable. Home inspectors deliver lousy news to prospective home buyers and sellers, which can cause complaints.

Small claims courts limit your wins to a certain amount, usually around $10,000, or you can take the case to the local court.

Among other things, you might claim your home inspector acted negligently or did not honor your contract. To prove negligence, the inspector must work in a way that directly caused you damages (usually the cost of fixing the defects). If the inspector did something wrong, this is something another inspector would not have done.


Elements of Negligence Claim

Are Home Inspectors Liable For Negligence? A client can assert negligence, breach of contract, and misrepresentation claims against a home inspector. A good understanding of the four elements of negligence will help inspectors reduce their risk of negligence.

A negligence claim consists of four elements:

  1. Performing duties;
  2. Breach of trust;
  3. Causation; and

To succeed in a lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove all four elements with a preponderance of the evidence.


Establish a duty

To establish a duty owed by the inspector to him, the plaintiff must prove it. In common law, everyone must exercise ordinary care in all activities to prevent foreseeable risks. The duty may be created or defined by a contract, a statute, or industry standards of care.

Even if there is ordinarily no duty, someone who voluntarily undertakes something must do it with ordinary care. If you are responsible for providing free inspections to relatives, you must carry them out properly.


The inspector breached the duty.

After proving that the inspection existed, the plaintiff must show that the inspector breached the duty. In other words, the plaintiff must demonstrate negligence on the inspector’s part.

Whether the inspector violated a duty depends on the trier of fact (a jury or non-jury trial). It is impossible to prescribe definite rules for every combination of circumstances that may arise.



The plaintiff must prove that the inspector breached a duty even if the breach resulted in the plaintiff’s damages, even if it proves they had a responsibility. Traditionally, the cause is determined by the “but for” test. If the damages would not occur but for the inspector’s breach of duty, the inspector’s conduct constitutes a cause.


The number of damages

It is still necessary for the plaintiff to prove that he was damaged and the number of damages if he demonstrates the first three elements of a negligence claim. The cost of correcting defects the inspector failed to find will often constitute damages in a negligence lawsuit against a home inspector.

A client might not have purchased a property if the inspector had performed a proper inspection, in which case the claim for damages may be much higher.


Ways to Sue a Home Inspector: Common Things to Consider

If the buyer loses interest in the home, you cannot sue the inspector. You should ask yourself if your case is strong enough. Consult a real estate attorney if you are still determining the strength of your case before you file a lawsuit.


Inspectors are likely to have a better understanding than you.

The home inspector is aware that lawsuits are a part of the job. They are likely prepared to defend themselves in court and may have a retainer agreement with an attorney.

It is also important for an inspector to know various areas of construction and utilities. You may only be able to comprehend the report’s contents if you possess professional-level knowledge in these areas.


Documentation is essential for inspectors.

The report often has more than 50 pages documenting the inspection’s findings. If you don’t keep detailed notes of your conversation with the inspector, you might have to contend with evidence such as:

  • Issues and appointments are well documented.
  • Recording the reported appointment by voice or video (some states prohibit recording people without their permission)
  • Recordings of emails or phone calls


There are limitations to the inspection and the scope of work.

Inspecting usually costs:

  • Damage photos, written documentation, or video
  • The brand and age of utilities, the roof, smoke detectors, gutters, and appliances.
  • You can discuss the report with your inspector by phone or in person.
  • Visit your state or inspector’s website to learn about your home’s utilities or special features.
  • Report Final

Most inspections do not include the following:

  • Checking for termite damage (this needs to take place separately)
  • Using low-quality vinyl flooring or stair treads is an example of a material defect.
  • Putting cameras in walls, digging underground, or cutting into floors is intrusive behavior.

An inspector must mention when they did not inspect something in their report.

  • Uninspected areas
  • Their inability to access the area
  • I recommend bringing back the inspector once the area is open or having a licensed professional inspect it.


Sometimes, the seller, not the inspector, is at fault.

A seller may stage a home to hide major problems or do illegal or deceitful things to conceal a problem.

There may also have been a non-maliciously or accidental failure on the seller’s part to clear boxes or furniture — preventing access to the attic, rooms, closets, electrical boxes, plumbing, and utilities.


You may limit the responsibility of the home inspector by signing a waiver.

If you hired an inspector, you probably signed some form of waiver or contract explaining what the inspection isn’t:

  • Assurance that the home is safe or in sound condition
  • Coverage for a home’s roof, leaks, or mechanical breakdowns
  • The home will be free of problems.
  • It would help if you made the following repairs:
  • Materials or utility patents or defects
  • A comprehensive inspection (any areas or conditions not within the scope of the inspection will be specified in the contract and again in the report).


Inspecting a home is not a pass/fail process.

Inspecting a home for defects is different from the inspector’s job – even new construction will have defects, and they are supposed to explain the report to you so you can make an informed decision.

Licensed inspectors cannot make any decisions for you. If they recommend you buy or cancel the sale, the decision is yours alone.


What is the best time to file a negligence suit if you feel they committed professional negligence?

Upon reading the inspector’s report, you may file a negligence suit if you feel they committed professional negligence. As state law outlines, home inspection regulations protect consumers from low standards of practice or intentionally inaccurate home inspection reports.

A home inspection attorney can provide accurate legal advice based on your situation. Still, in general, you may be able to dispute claims made on inspection reports or sue inspectors if:

  • Inspection reports do not include defects that were visible and accessible during the inspection (see the move above).
  • You can prove they lied.
  • The report contains an error, or the findings are incorrect.
  • Changing or hiding something in the report or house (exaggerating or downplaying an issue could constitute negligence)
  • Despite having intended to hire a repair contractor, this never happened (or the contractor made things worse).
  • In a breach of contract, they agreed to pay for repairs or make repairs themselves without following through.
  • You or your lawsuit has yet to receive a response from the inspector.

You may need to ask other inspectors to review the report to determine if the inspector was negligent. If they agree, you may need to file a lawsuit. You might receive a letter from a lawyer asking you to withdraw the suit. They might also counter-sue you. Pay attention to the lawsuit if they counter-sue.

There are different laws regarding frivolous lawsuits and indemnity claims from state to state. The buyer, seller, or both may sue the inspector in a contract-based lawsuit based on the inspection contract.


Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Attorney Real Estate Group reviews every purchase and sale agreement clause to protect your buyer’s right to a professional home inspection.

You can depend on your licensed home inspection lawyer to point out terms and conditions that affect the closing date of your real estate transaction. If necessary, we amend your contract, extend completion dates, and include clauses that protect your financial interests. Home inspection attorneys fix errors and omissions you may have not noticed.

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